Creating your own teamwork definition is something that is too easily missed when forming teams or trying to build a team ethos in an organisation. Yet teamwork is something that is often best defined in your own organization and context.
It is crucial that you and possible team members have thought through what you value about teamwork and the behaviours you would expect to see. You will then define teamwork for yourselves.
Developing a Teamwork Definition
Here is an activity to run with your team, either to refresh your emphasis on teamwork or more often, when you are starting up with a team. It will help think through what teamwork means to you.
To get the most out of this team activity you may want to read our articles on teamwork. Firstly to step back and get a picture of teamwork principles which can often be lost in the day-to-day busyness of work. Secondly and crucial to this activity in our article “define teamwork” we discuss some of the common understandings of teamwork. Thirdly you may want to read “why is teamwork important?” where we discuss the benefits of teamworking.
You can use this teamwork definition activity together with the activity on benefits of teamwork either as a separate session before the benefits session, or in one session with the benefits of teamwork activity following this activity on developing a teamwork definition.
Prior to meeting as a team to define teamwork ask the group to come prepared by writing down their thoughts to the following questions:
- Consider / Reflect on keywords and phrases that you would associate with teamworking – bring them with you to the session
- Identify a Team you would consider to be effective.
- Identify a “Team” you would consider to be ineffective.
- What makes one successful and the other not.
Activity – Define Teamwork
The aims of the activity are to:
- Provide an initial definition of teamworking process in your orgnaisation/team
- Explore the dynamic nature of teamworking
- Clarify what might make for successful teamworking
Start with a discussion of what makes a successful team.
- What do you value about teamwork?
- Note any points made by group, to build a picture of what you all consider important.
Gather / generate keywords and phrases regarding teamworking in you organisation/team (from pre-work session) using post – it notes.
- Use flip chart paper to pot the keywords and phrases.
Cluster and name responses.
- Group similar words and phrases and attempt to give the cluster a name which best describes the grouping (it may be one of the words that have been grouped).
Produce an initial definition using the words and phrases as a start point.
- This definition can be polished for discussion at the next session when the team meets to check that it is still valid and aligned with current thinking.